Croatian Government Crisis May 2: Live Updates

Total Croatia News

Updated on:

Day 6 of the government crisis.

After dramatic events last week, the Parliament will continue its regular session by discussing MOST’s proposal to amend the Law on Archives, which is in the second reading. That will be just a prelude to the most turbulent parliamentary week in quite some time, which will bring us a debate and a vote on the opposition’s motion of no confidence against Finance Minister Zdravko Marić, and possibly on HDZ’s motion of no confidence against Parliament Speaker and MOST President Božo Petrov, as well as a vote on HDZ’s Gordan Jandroković as the new Speaker, if Petrov is dismissed.

The current crisis was preceded by last week’s dramatic session of the government, where three of MOST’s ministers voted against Finance Minister Marić, which prompted Prime Minister Andrej Plenković to immediately dismiss them, bringing the HDZ-MOST coalition to an abrupt end.

The outcome of the crisis now depends on the result of the three possible votes in the Parliament. According to one scenario, HDZ will be able to find a new parliamentary majority of at least 76 MPs, which means that Marić would remain a minister, HDZ would be able to bring down Speaker Petrov and elect Jandroković in his place. Afterwards, the Parliament would be on a break until after the local elections on the 21st of May.

According to the second scenario, HDZ will not be able to find 76 MPs for a new majority, but the opposition also will not be able to find enough MPs to bring Marić down. In that case, it is possible that the outcome of the crisis would be delayed until after the local elections. HDZ could still dismiss Petrov, since it has at least 79 certain votes for that, given that some of the opposition parties are also willing to vote against him. However, as Speaker, Petrov can decide when he will open a debate on the motion of his dismissal. If Petrov is dismissed, that does not mean that next speaker has to be elected immediately. One of HDZ’s deputy speakers could be an Acting Speaker for a while.

In the third scenario, if Finance Minister Marić is brought down, Prime Minister Plenković would need to propose a new minister or resign. If he refuses, MPs could propose the dissolution of the Parliament. If that happens, then the President would call new elections between 30 and 60 days later. If the Prime Minister were to resign, a 30-day deadline for a new parliamentary majority to be formed would start. If that is not successful, then new elections would also follow.

This article is going to be updated throughout the day with the latest developments.

The Parliament has completed its activities for today. Tomorrow, the Parliament will debate the motion of no confidence against Finance Minister Zdravko Marić.

Former Administration Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Ivan Kovačić (MOST):

“MOST just wants to debate first the issue which started this crisis. Four of us were described as not being loyal, while actually Finance Minister Marić was the only one who was not loyal. He never informed us about problems in Agrokor. Even clearers knew in December that the company was collapsing, but he remained silent.

If I were Plenković, I would fire him. Marić was not loyal to Plenković. The Croatian Bank for Reconstruction and Development gave Agrokor a loan, they probably expected that everything would be fine. There was silence in the media.”

Prime Minister Andrej Plenković is still in the offices of the HDZ Parliamentary Group. He went there after this morning’s meeting with his MPs. Although there were rumours that he would make a statement in the morning, that has not happened. Several ministers were seen entering and leaving the offices, including Finance Minister Zdravko Marić, the Deputy Prime Minister and Economy Minister Martina Dalić, Culture Minister Nina Obuljen, and Labour and Pension System Minister Tomislav Ćorić.

Deputy Speaker Milanka Opačić (SDP):

“I do not think that Speaker Petrov has the majority. MOST has brought down the government twice, provoked elections twice. They moralise and say that other people are thieves. I cannot have confidence in such people. We have decided that SDP’s MPs will vote according to their conscience and some of us will vote against Petrov. This is a person who has deprived us of the opportunity to continue with our projects. Such a person cannot get my vote.” said Opačić, explaining why she will vote for Petrov’s dismissal as Speaker.

Deputy Speaker of Parliament Željko Reiner (HDZ) said that at this point it did not matter whether or not HDZ had the majority in Parliament. This means that one of the leading people in HDZ has in effect admitted that HDZ does not have the majority at this moment. “Maybe HDZ has the majority, but that does not matter. The key question is that the Speaker does not enjoy the confidence of Parliament.” said Reiner, who was himself Speaker of Parliament last year, when the first MOST-HDZ coalition collapsed. “I am telling you again that this is irrelevant. What is important is that the government is functioning.”

IDS president Boris Miletić:
“IDS will not support HDZ in forming a new parliamentary majority. We are against both HDZ and MOST, which is even more right-leaning than HDZ. I am sorry that there are some in SDP who are thinking about a possible coalition with MOST.”

HNS president Ivan Vrdoljak:
“All members of Parliament from HNS will vote for the motion of no confidence against Finance Minister Marić and for the motion of dismissal of Parliament Speaker Petrov. We will not support HDZ’s candidate for a new Speaker.”

According to media reports, Prime Minister Plenković is in the Parliament building, but he has not yet given any statement.

Despite calls for his dismissal to be put to a vote, Parliament Speaker Petrov has started a debate on the Law on Archives, which MOST considers to be very important. The law would open the Communist-era state archives.

SDP president Davor Bernardić:
“It is clear that the government collapsed last week. There is no new parliamentary majority and the responsibility is to demonstrate a new majority or to terminate this agony of conflict, strife and political instability. Our task as responsible opposition is not to participate in the work of Parliament as it is now. That is why we have launched the dismissal proceedings for the three deputy speakers from HDZ. Plenković has brought the whole of Croatia into a situation of great political instability that will result in great economic instability.”

Branko Bačić, president of the HDZ Parliamentary Group:

“HDZ and MPs from other parliamentary groups have submitted a proposal for the dismissal of the Speaker of Parliament, which means that Božo Petrov has no legitimacy. The first point of the agenda should be a vote on whether or not the Speaker has the confidence of the Parliament. I suggest that this should be the next point on the agenda. If you do not want to do that, then I suggest you convene a session of the presidency of Parliament which will define the activities in the Parliament in the next four days.”

Parliament was not able to include the dismissal of Speaker Božo Petrov in the agenda because there was no quorum.

The session of Parliament should begin at 10.00. According to reports, HDZ will immediately explain why they believe that Speaker Božo Petrov should leave his position. They will say he has no legitimacy to lead the Parliament because they have collected 79 signatures for his recall. If Petrov refuses to include HDZ’s request for his recall in the parliamentary agenda, HDZ’s MPs could leave the session.


Subscribe to our newsletter

the fields marked with * are required
Email: *
First name:
Last name:
Gender: Male Female
Please don't insert text in the box below!

Leave a Comment